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|Title:||Habitat manipulation to enhance biological control of light brown apple moth (Epiphyas Postvittana)|
|Publisher:||University of Sydney. Rural Management|
|Abstract:||Trichogramma carverae Oatman and Pinto is mass-released for biological control of the leafroller pest, light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) in Australian vineyards. Parasitoid performance can, however, be constrained by a lack of suitable adult food and no information is available on the effect of nectar on the parasitism and longevity of T. carverae. To address this, the effect of alyssum, Lobularia maritima (L.) flowers on E. postvittana parasitism was studied in a vineyard experiment with and without releases of T. carverae. Egg parasitoid activity was assessed with E. postvittana egg 'sentinel cards' and no parasitism was recorded in plots without T. carverae releases. Where T. carverae were released, there was no significant enhancement of parasitism by the presence of L. maritima flowers. Three hypotheses were subsequently tested to account for the lack of an effect: (i) T. carverae does not benefit from L. maritima nectar, (ii) T. carverae was feeding on nectar from other flowering plants (weeds) present in the vineyard, (iii) T. carverae was feeding on sugars from ripe grapes. A growth-cabinet experiment using potted L. maritima plants with and without flowers did not support hypothesis one. No parasitism was recorded after day two for T. carverae caged without flowers whilst parasitism occured until day eight in the presence of flowers. A laboratory experiment with common vineyard weeds (Trifolium repens, Hypochoeris radicata, Echium plantagineum) as well as L. maritima did not support hypothesis one but gave partial support to hypothesis two. Survival of T. carverae was enhanced to a small but statistically significant extent in vials with intact flowers of L. maritima, white clover (T. repens) and catsear (H. radicata) but not in vials with flowering shoots of these species from which flowers and flowering buds had been removed. Paterson's curse (E. plantagineum) flowers had no effect on T. carverae survival. In a laboratory study, punctured grapes significantly enhanced T. carverae survival compared with a treatment without grapes, supporting hypothesis three. Trichogramma carverae performance in the field experiment was probably also constrained by relatively cool and wet weather. Further work on the enhancement of T. carverae efficacy by L. maritima and other carbohydrate sources is warranted. Greenhouse and field experiments were conducted to investigate whether T. carverae benefit from different groundcover plant species. Ten T. carverae adults (<24h after eclosion) were caged with different groundcover species and a control with no plant materials. Epiphyas postvittana egg sentinel cards were used to measure parasitism and longevity was recorded visually. Survival and realised parasitism of T. carverae was significantly higher in L. maritima than in Brassica juncea, Coriandrum sativum, shoots of these species from which flowers had been removed and nil control treatments. A similar experiment with Fagopyrum esculentum (with- and without-flowers) and a control treatment showed that survival was significantly higher in intact F. esculentum than in without-flower and control treatments. There was no significant treatment effect on parasitism in the early stages of that experiment, though parasitism was recorded in the presence of F. esculentum flowers for 12 days, compared with 6 days in other treatments. Higher parasitism was observed in intact Borago officinalis than in the flowerless shoot, water only and no plant material control treatments in a third experiment. There was no significant treatment effect on parasitism. Fitted exponential curves for survival data differed significantly in curvature in the first, second and third experiments but the slope was a non-significant parameter in the second and third experiments. In a second series of laboratory experiments, one male and one female T. carverae were caged with groundcover species to investigate male and female longevity and daily fecundity. Both male and female longevity in F. esculentum and L. maritima treatments were significantly higher than on shoots of these species from which flowers had been removed, and than in the control treatments. Daily fecundity was significantly greater in the intact L. maritima treatment than in all other treatments. Fitted exponential curves for daily fecundity differed significantly in position and slope but not in curvature. There was no significant treatment effect on longevity or parasitism when a male and female were caged with intact B. juncea, B. officinalis or without-flower of these species, nor in the treatment with no plant materials. No parasitism was observed in a survey of naturally occurring egg parasitoids on two sites close to Orange and Canowindra in New South Wales, illustrating the importance of mass releases of T. carverae in biological control of E. postvittana. In an experiment on the Canowindra site, parasitism was significantly higher on day one and day two after T. carverae release when with-flower treatments were compared with without-flower treatments. Parasitism was significantly higher in the F. esculentum treatment than in C. sativum, L. maritima, vegetation without-flowers and control treatments on these dates. On day five, parasitism was higher in C. sativum than in all other treatments. There was no significant increase in parasitism in a second experiment conducted on the Orange site. Coriandrum sativum, F. esculentum and L. maritima appear to be suitable adult food sources for T. carverae and offer some scope for habitat manipulation in vineyards The adults of many parasitoid species require nectar for optimal fitness but very little is known about flower recognition. Flight cage experiments showed that the adults of T. carverae benefited from L. maritima bearing white flowers to a greater extent than was the case for light pink, dark pink or purple flowered cultivars, despite all cultivars producing nectar. Survival and realised parasitism on non-white flowers were no greater than when the parasitoids were caged on L. maritima shoots from which flowers had been removed. The possibility that differences between L. maritima cultivars were due to factors other than flower colour, such as nectar quality, was excluded by dyeing white L. maritima flowers by placing the roots of the plants in 5% food dye (blue or pink) solution. Survival of T. carverae was lower on dyed L. maritima flowers than on undyed white flowers. Mixing the same dyes with honey in a third experiment conducted in the dark showed that the low level of feeding on dyed flowers was unlikely to be the result of olfactory or gustatory cues. Flower colour appears, therefore, to be a critical factor in the choice of plants used to enhance biological control, and is likely to also be a factor in the role parasitoids play in structuring invertebrate communities. Provision of nectar producing plants to increase the effectiveness of biological control is one aspect of habitat manipulation, but care needs to be taken to avoid the use of plant species that may benefit pest species. Greenhouse experiments were conducted to investigate whether the adult E. postvittana and larvae benefit from nectar producing groundcover species. Newly emerged E. postvittana adults were caged with different groundcover species and a honey-based artificial adult diet. The longevity of male and female E. postvittana when caged with shoots of borage (B. officinalis) and buckwheat (F. esculentum) bearing flowers was as long as when fed a honey-based artificial diet. This effect was not evident when caged with shoots of these plants from which flowers had been removed. Longevity was significantly lower than in the artificial diet treatment when caged with coriander (C. sativum) or alyssum (L. maritima) irrespective of whether flowers were present or not. There was no significant treatment effect on the lifetime fecundity of E. postvittana. A second experiment with mustard (B. juncea) (with- and without-flowers), water only and honey-based artificial adult diet showed no significant treatment effects on the longevity of male and female E. postvittana or on the lifetime fecundity of E. postvittana. The anomalous lack of a difference between the water and honey-based diet treatments precludes making conclusions on the value of B. juncea for E. postvittana. Two greenhouse experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of groundcover species on the larval development of E. postvittana. In the first experiment, larval mortality was significantly higher in C. sativum, and L. maritima than in B. juncea, B. officinalis and white clover (T. repens) a known host of E. postvittana. Coriandrum sativum and L. maritima extended the larval period. In B. juncea and B. officinalis, mortality did not differ from that in T. repens. In F. esculentum, larval mortality was significantly higher than in T. repens. A short larval period was observed on B. juncea, B. officinalis and F. esculentum. Fitted exponential curves for larval mortality differed significantly in curvature between plant treatments. Similarly, successful pupation was significantly lower in C. sativum, F. esculentum and L. maritima than in T. repens. The percentage of successful pupation in B. juncea and B. officinalis did not differ from F. esculentum and T. repens. Fitted exponential curves for pupation differed significantly in curvature. A similar trend was observed in a second experiment with potted plants. The overall results suggest that C. sativum and L. maritima denied benefit to E. postvittana adults and larvae, so could be planted as vineyard groundcover with minimal risk of exacerbating this pest. Overall results suggest that T. carverae require nutrients to reach their full reproductive potential and flowers provide such nutrients. Lobularia maritima and C. sativum may be considered 'selective food plants' for T. carverae whereas F. esculentum appears to be a 'non-selective food plant'; both T. carverae and E. postvittana benefited from it. Fruits such as grapes can be used as food resources in habitat manipulation and this merits further research. This result also suggests that within species flower colour is an important factor for flower selection in habitat manipulation.|
|Rights and Permissions:||Copyright Begum, Mahmuda;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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